Sunday, August 12, 2012

Just a year ago- Jamie Lee Dunleavy


A year ago, I would have told you that I had it all figured out. I would have told you that my life was perfect. I would tell you how excited I was about my new job and how in love I was with my longtime boyfriend. The sun rose and set with that boy and my happiness revolved around him. I was young and na├»ve and more than anything – in love. He was my everything. Well at least he was until I was in my office and my phone vibrated to alert me that my Facebook had just updated and I was, “no longer in a relationship”. That day the world I knew turned upside down and the girl I was changed forever.

I stepped out of my office and into the bathroom. I cried for five minutes. Composed myself and emerged a new woman. I dedicated my time to my work. My job instantly morphed into my career. At first this was because I needed a distraction. I needed somewhere to go and something to do to keep my ever reeling mind occupied. But sooner than I would have ever expected, it simply became my passion. I fell in love with what I did. I put all of my energy into being the best I could possibly be. I took all of the love and passion I put into my relationship with my ex boyfriend into my work. My drive was unstoppable and I instantly became a success throughout this 7 billion dollar company. I was being sent to Washington, DC to train large stores on how to use the new computer systems, I was being put up in seven room Presidential suites, I was going to District wide meetings to assist and learn, I was leading statewide events. My life was consumed by my work and I was in a comfortable state of, “fine”.

I remember on my day off, sitting on my couch and getting the picture message from my friend that February morning of my ex boyfriend and his new girlfriend. I remember it like it was yesterday. Only two days after my birthday (which btw my ex and I had been texting back and forth until five am like we had been most days since the break up) I find out he’s had a new girlfriend for months and that despite being in constant contact with me – never ever once mentioned her. We had spoken almost every day and he didn’t even have enough respect for me to tell me.

In that moment I felt what I should have felt when I had received the Facebook alert that I had gotten dumped – I felt the overwhelming pain. The strings of my heart snapped like severed guitar chords. The wave of nausea came over me like a tsunami. The cold crept through my veins and turned me to stone. Everything I knew was wrong and my last strain of hope was gone.

Every second I was not at work, I spent in the gym. I would spin for hours on end. I somehow managed to survive on a cocktail of protein shakes and oatmeal. I could not eat, I could not sleep, I could not feel anything but the crippling pain. I dropped weight like a pageant girl. I lost fifteen pounds in one month. When the numbness finally came, it was like a gift from God. I could function. I could eat and I could sleep. I had a whole new appreciation for these basic every day tasks.

It took me until May to finally allow myself to let go. To not let a guy destroy my potential. No one but me could stop myself from letting someone who did not want me, to ruin my life. I just woke up and decided that this was not how my life was going to be. I was not going to go to sleep picturing his face and wake up hearing his voice. I was not going to catch myself moping and crying. I was going to plaster my shiny white smile on my face and dammit, I was going to live my life. It suddenly occurred to me that I was twenty five years old and I had spent the entire duration of my existence, WAITING. Waiting for him to commit, waiting for him to pay attention to me, waiting for him to take the next step, waiting for a job I loved, waiting to have the body I dreamed of, waiting to have a social life, waiting to have a group of friends that I wanted to spend time with. Waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting. I had danced through a quarter of a century and felt like I had accomplished nothing. Every day I had walked through felt like a dress rehearsal for my life and I was finally ready to take the stage. No more cold feet, no more takes, I was ready for pure, raw LIFE!

Today, I am 25 years old. I will tell you that I have nothing figured out. My life is far from perfect. There are a thousand things I want to change and now, I will. I live everyday with purpose. I do what I want, when I want to do it. I take chances, I take risks. I wait for no one. I never ask permission. I read. I sing. I dance. I kiss. I smile. I laugh. I play. I work. I hang out with my amazing friends. I REGRET NOTHING. Every moment, every experience, every mistake is just a lesson in this amazing adventure called life. Every step I have taken has gotten me one inch closer to where I am meant to be. At twenty five I am abundantly blessed. I have a group of friends I would not trade for the world, a loving family, a career I am fantastic at with a company that I could stay with indefinitely and never do the same thing twice. I am finally confident in who I am and what I look like. I love my personality, I love my body, I love who I am and what I have become. When I finally accepted that the love I had was over with my ex and stopped trying to hide behind my career and the gym – I fell in love with myself. And this relationship is the most rewarding and fulfilling one I have ever had.